American Elephants

This Isn’t a Euphemism, It’s an Obfuscation! by The Elephant's Child

A euphemism is the substitution of an inoffensive term for one considered explicitly offensive.  Jessica Mitford once said “euphemisms such as ‘slumber room’ abound in the funeral industry.” To obfuscate is to confuse or becloud.

Religious leaders told a House panel Thursday that the Obama administration was violating basic rights to religious freedom with its policies requiring religious affiliated institutions to fund birth control, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs for their members and employees.

Democrats were indignant because they had been denied the ability to present witnesses before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee who might support the government stance or speak for the rights of women to reproductive health coverage.

This isn’t even obfuscation and it’s more than an attempt to confuse. It’s an attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ears. The edict handed down from the Catholic Secretary of Health and Human Services has nothing to do with women’s reproductive health. It involves only who pays for their birth control.

No woman is deprived of contraceptives. No woman is deprived of the ability to be sterilized. No woman is deprived of the morning-after pill.  They can pay for it themselves, they can get someone else to pay for it. They can get it from Planned Parenthood. They can get a 30 day supply of birth control pills from WalMart for $4. (That’s only $48 for a whole year— they get more than that back from Obama’s payroll tax extension).

House Democratic leader, former speaker, and Catholic Nancy Pelosi said Thursday morning that “I think that all institutions who cover, who give, health insurance should cover the full range of health insurance issues for women.”

Not a health insurance issue. Nor are condoms for the other sex. Nor is the toothpaste that helps prevent my tooth decay, the aspirin that assuages my headaches. With the declining birth rate, it may not even be a national good.  Smaller generations of children can’t pay for the Social Security and Medicare entitlements of women.

Nobody is preventing women of childbearing age from obtaining or using birth control. We just suggest they should pay for it themselves.

Yes. He Will Make America Defenseless. He Told Us So. by The Elephant's Child

“I’m the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning. And as president I will end it. Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems. And I will institute an independent “Defense Priorities Board” to ensure that the Quadrennial Defense Review is not used to justify unnecessary spending. Third, I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material; and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals.

        Oct, 2007

The war on terror is far from over, except for the convenience of the President of the United States. President Obama has used the phrase “as we end today’s wars” when he spoke of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in a document from the administration intended to provide “strategic guidance” for the Defense Department. The president wrote:

Our Nation is at a moment of transition. Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, we have responsibly ended the war in Iraq, put al Qaeda on the path to defeat—including delivering justice to Osama bin Laden—and made significant progress in Afghanistan, allowing us to begin the transition to Afghan responsibility.

Security in Iraq has fallen apart following the departure of U.S. combat troops in December, and our ability to influence affairs there is demonstrated by the departure of half of the embassy staff. The president’s agenda was to end the wars, and now that he’s in full election mode, he wants out right now, never mind the consequences. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are ready to move back in as soon as we are gone. The retreat from Iraq, Obama claims, is just abiding with the Bush administration’s 2008 agreement, but Obama made no effort to modify the agreement. Iraq Body Count tracks violent civilian deaths at 460 since troops departure, a 35% increase over prior monthly averages.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban is waiting the American departure out, preparing to take over.  Our troops remaining no longer get combat pay unless they are actually shot at in combat, which is just misguided. They are all apt to get shot or blown up at any moment.

President Obama is in full campaign mode and wants to be able to say he has fulfilled his electoral promises. I suspect that few were aware of his promises, and voted for the cool young African American who promised to end partisan dissension in Washington. That hasn’t gone too well. Statements like the above idiocy were a big reason why I voted against him.

American military forces will shrink — drastically —the Army will shrink by 72.000, the active Marine Corps will be reduced by 20,000, the Air Force will see six tactical fighter squadrons eliminated while an additional training fighter squadron will be scratched. The next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter procurement will be slowed. The Navy will retire seven cruisers and two amphibious ships and procurement of new ships will be delayed. This returns us to approximately the levels we had under President Clinton when we had a hard time executing the smaller missions in Kosovo and Bosnia, and before 9/11. But Obama the SEALS got Osama bin Laden, so al Qaeda is not a problem any more.

To compensate for the hollowed-out military, the administration plans to increase reliance on unmanned drones and special-operations teams based around the globe. The military is in danger of becoming the broken force of the Carter era. The above does not count the automatic budge cuts amounting to as much as $600 billion that were part of the Budget Control Act that Congress passed last summer.

Obama seeks to cut the American nuclear arsenal by 80%. He has decided that a world without an American deterrent is a good start. Good timing.  We now have a world where rogue states with unstable leadership like Pakistan, and North Korea have nukes, and Iran may be very close. North Korea depends on the income from passing on its technology. Iran has been notable for its promise to eliminate Israel and America, and for its active support of terrorist organizations.

Pentagon planners have been asked to consider 3 force levels as part of a nuclear force review 1) 1,100-1,000 warheads 2) 700-800 warheads and 3) 300 and 400 warheads. Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney (Ret) says that even considering such deep strategic cuts is irrational. “No sane military leader would condone 300 to 400 warheads for an effective nuclear deterrent strategy.” An editorial at Investors Business Daily says:

This latest example of presidential naiveté, which makes even Jimmy Carter look like a warmongering hawk, seems based not on geostrategic reality but rather on the wishful thinking that the threat posed is nuclear weapons, not the enemies that possess them.

Liberal loon Edward Markey (D-MA) has introduced a bill that would cut $100 billion in nuclear weapons programs, a bill co-sponsored by 34 other Representatives. Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense James Miller said that Markey’s initial call for cutting $200 billion over 10 years would result “in the immediate and unilateral nuclear disarmament of the United States.” At present more than 30 countries all over the world rely on U.S. nuclear weapons. They have not developed their own weapons or expanded their arsenals because they believe that the U.S. would respond with devastating force if they are threatened.  Even the credibility of the United States would diminish if our arsenal is not properly maintained.

It seems unbelievable that Obama can look at the world today and so totally misunderstand it. He believes that our retreat from Iraq and Afghanistan makes us more popular.  Daniel Greenfield sums up the Obama Doctrine as he sees it. It’s not a pretty picture:

The Obama Doctrine can be summed up as the assertion that for the United States to have influence and standing on the global stage, it must first abandon its interests and its allies.

The doctrine is rarely described as bluntly as that by its proponents who employ euphemisms like multilateral policies and honest broker to mean much the same thing, denouncing the previous administration and all the preceding administrations going back to old Tom Jefferson for alienating the world by pursuing American interests and cutting deals with non-progressive allies. …

This leaves the United States as less than a nation, a version of the United Nations with its own military and a great deal of wealth. It has no interests except reaching out to befriend its enemies and it has no allies except those enemies willing to pretend to be its allies, at which point they will become enemies. But the United Nations was designed to be a forum in which nations pursue their own interests, it is not supposed to have interests or allies. The United States is a nation and it is meant to have both. If the United States cannot articulate interests apart from the UN agenda then it no longer functions as a nation on the world stage.

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